A chilling glimpse of the afterlife, this tale is full of fast-paced action and witty dialogue that will have you reading on the edge of your seat. Zombies, grotesque humanoids, ghoulish gnome-like ants, this story has it all -- even a knight to lead the charge against them.
Here's a haunted house tale where the house itself is a major player -- in addition to the specter or two stirring within its walls. James and his cousin Nathan are in search of treasure, but their relationship is strained at best, and James is having difficulty believing what Nathan tells him about the house and its history. As a reader, I had my doubts about the reliability of both characters, which served to amp up the conflict and make for an enjoyable read.
If Rod Serling had ended each of those good ol' Twilight Zone episodes with scriptures from the Good Book instead of poignant platitudes, the stories collected herein would have fit perfectly. But these tales go far beyond being reminiscent of that classic series; Setzer's stories stand on their own, and they stand apart. Each one pulls the reader in unawares with realistic dialogue and genuine characters, and by the time it's clear something is amiss (with the appearance of a crazy old lady, or time travel, or doppelgangers, or angels, or demons, or plant monsters), we're so invested in these fictional people that we've got to find out what happens next. That's the hallmark of good, old-fashioned storytelling. I had difficulty following just a couple of the stories (probably because they were sequels to tales from the first volume: Zero Hour: Stories of Spiritual Suspense), but my favorite of the bunch has to be "Zap Zachary Returns." It has the flavor of Galaxy Quest to it and could easily be expanded into a very humorous SF serial.
This children's book would make a perfect gift for an older sibling of a new baby. It's normal for the first child to feel out of place when the new edition (addition) arrives, and it can seem like Mom is grumping all the time. But she's not really angry as much as she's sleep-deprived; try explaining that to a 5-year-old, though. So that's where this book comes in, and it does the job nicely. I have to admit, when I saw the cover, I thought the story was going to be an introduction for children to the hazards of PMS. (Seriously, I used to think my mom was going to tear me limb from limb at least one week out of every month.) Maybe that could be the topic of Sherry's next book...
"Revenge gone horribly wrong" -- indeed! This short tale is a good reminder that by seeking vengeance we hurt only ourselves. Well-written with clearly defined characters and a style of prose perfectly suited to the time period, "Sixpence and Rye" will haunt your thoughts long after you've turned off your eReader for the night.
I'm a big fan of superheroes, from the early serials to the campy 1960s Batman to Nolan's Dark Knight. FEALTY capitalizes on some of the post-hero themes from THE INCREDIBLES, and while there's enough campiness to inspire a smile throughout the narrative, there are some serious elements in FEALTY as well. Scott Archer has a decision to make. Will he don his persona from the past to aid an aging hero, or will he forsake his alter-ego and fully embrace his current job as a sports reporter? When the evil Fish-Face forces his hand, Scott finds that it's still in his nature to be heroic. I enjoyed this tale and hope Mr. Setzer writes many more adventures for Fang & friends.
In this short story, Colby has an incredible supernatural power, but due to circumstances and personal choices, he doesn't use it for good. When Verdict, a legalistic "super" in his own right, appears as Colby's judge and jury, our anti-hero finds himself on the run from the police thanks to Verdict's meddling. This is a fast-paced, action-packed story that fleshes out the adage "Judge not, lest ye be judged." Colby may not have learned his lesson in the end, but he definitely learned something about himself and will have to think twice about breaking the law in the future.
I don't usually read much magical fantasy, but I enjoyed these three tales, each involving witches (or Wycka) in some way. The first story, "The Standing Stones of Erelong," is a heart-warming tale of love, loss, and resurrection. The last story, "Slieau Whallian" (no idea how to pronounce that one), involves a young female protagonist with the Sight -- and perhaps more powers bubbling beneath the surface she has only begun to fathom. My favorite of the three is the longest, sandwiched right in the middle: "A Sorcerous Mist". Quirk and McBride walk onstage fully formed as characters you want to get to know; the story is well-structured and multilayered; and in the end, it's a very satisfying read.
This installment of the Otrim Saga introduces us to Paeter's backstory and shows us how he came to ride with Otrim and Terell (who also need their own origin episodes at some point). I mentioned in another review that there's a disconnect between Otrim the Barbarian and Otrim the Bible-thumper, but this episode brings that conflict front and cent as the characters discuss being both peace-crafters and warriors. I would like to see Otrim and Paeter struggle more with their bloodletting in future episodes; separating a man's head from his shoulders should not come easily to them, considering their faith/upbringing. "Promise" is another well-written chapter in a series I'm enjoying, and I can't wait to read what happens next to these engaging characters.
This short story (which evolved into a novel forthcoming from the author) sets the stage for an epic battle to come. Gillen, the gargoyle protagonist, is a likable creature, and his interactions with the human girl Britt are enjoyable and believable. Some of the interior monologue lines threw me because they weren't italicized, but I thoroughly enjoyed this tale overall. To hell with the devils!
The power of a mother's love (be she human or half-elven) comes through loud and clear in this novella. I enjoyed the fantasy aspects -- mindspeak, in particular, as well as the transferring/teleporting -- and the humor throughout was just great. The ending definitely leaves more of the story to be told, and as this novella takes place in a much larger world with its own history, that makes sense. I'm sure there will be many more half-elven tales published in the near future!
A very fun yet frightening tale of germaphobic paranoia gone awry -- with a special guest appearance by Lou Ferrigno! (You'll have to read it to find out how the Hulk fits in.) I particularly enjoyed the bonus content at the end; Setzer gives the reader a detailed peek behind the curtain at the genesis of this interesting tale and how his own life experiences came to shape the story arc.
This suspenseful story is a sequel to "The Watchman" in Setzer's ZERO HOUR collection, but it stands well enough on its own. A grieving widow suddenly comes onto the narrator -- his first clue that all is not as it seems. There are greater supernatural powers at work, and the final showdown between good and evil is tense and well-executed. Stay tuned for more tales of the Watchman!
Kewin is a master at imbuing the fantastic with real characters the reader cares about -- be they flesh and blood or phantasmal. My favorite tale in this trio would have to be "Her Pale Smile" with its humorous yet heartwarming tone, but all three are fine reads and definitely worth the price of admission...into the afterlife.